The Audi S4 is the entry-level compact Audi performance sedan that aims to satisfy those who seek a more thrilling sedan experience than the one available with regular A4 models but do not want to shout to everyone that they own a performance car. The S4 offers a subtle appeal, but underneath, the car is able to rival any hot hatchback on the streets.
This means that the S4 is the little brother to the Audi RS4 which is the true performance A4 with enough power and torque to rival even some serious performance sports cars. The RS4 is a bit too shouty and it comes with a significant price hike compared to the S4 which is why many people are more into the S4 as a result.
When it comes to reliability, the S4 follows a similar trajectory as regular gas-engine Audi A4 models do. This means that it manages to offer a relatively dependable experience, but needs maintenance in order to do so. The most common S4 issues are associated with the engine and the issues with overheating.
The S4 also suffers from issues related to premature brake wear, transmission, and increased levels of oil consumption/leaks. All in all, the S4 costs more money to maintain than regular A4 models do, but the differences aren’t all that big.
Audi S4 – Engine problems
The S4 offers either a 4.2L naturally aspirated V8 or a 3.0L turbocharged V6. The 4.2L V8 is known to develop carbon deposits on the intake manifold which can strain the engine and need to be cleaned to keep the engine safe. The 3.0L V6 has other issues such as ignition coil problems, or issues with the turbocharger.
The issue with the ignition coils happens when the coil is unable to transform the battery’s low voltage into high voltage for the spark plug to engage in the combustion process. This results in misfiring which can be felt and heard behind the wheel. The turbocharger is known to cause issues as well, but these aren’t as common.
Audi S4 – Overheating issues
The main issue with the S4 cooling system is related to the coolant temperature sensor (CTS) which is made out of plastic and can fail while being exposed to heat for an extended period of time. When that happens, the sensor is unable to send the right data to the ECU which then means the ECU which results in incorrect fuel and timing settings.
The symptoms of these issues are engine overheating, check engine light, rough engine performance, and inconsistent temperature readings. These are a common trait of these engines and will need replacing one or even a few times during the car’s lifespan.
Audi S4 – Premature brake wear
The Audi S4 is a performance car, but it does not necessarily come with brakes that are always able to take the stresses associated with performance driving. Not many people are keen on taking their S4s onto track days, but the ones that do, soon find out that the brakes can get cooked really fast and lose their stopping abilities.
Some owners even complained about needing to replace the brakes after just 16,000 miles on the road. Some have reported rotor warping which is commonly caused by extreme temperatures and the inability to cool down. If you are someone who loves performance driving and track days, be sure to incorporate cooling laps before you park the car up.
Audi S4 – Transmission issues
The torque converter box found in the Audi S4 is a relatively reliable gearbox, but it does experience issues with faulty converters and hesitation. The reasons why the converter fails are associated with overheating, deformation, leaky seals, and locking up.
If this does happen, you will likely experience gear slippage and even shuddering which are impossible not to notice. All in all, this issue is mostly associated with older Audi S4 models and isn’t all that frequent on newer ones.
Audi S4 – Oil leaks and high oil consumption
European luxury cars are known to consume lots of oil and the Audi S4 is no different. The reason why this happens is mostly due to a worn-out gasket due to lack of maintenance. If you notice your S4 emitting oil smells, the engine is misfiring, or the check engine light is on, be sure to stop the car in order not to cause any more damage.
These will have to be replaced at that point, so be sure to maintain them when you do so that this does not happen again.
Is the Audi S4 fast?
The Audi S4 gets a 350hp 3.0L V6 turbocharged engine, Quattro AWD, and a torque converter automatic. This powertrain is able to propel the S4 from 0-60mph in around 4.2 seconds which is a really good number. The top speed of the S4 is limited to 155kph, but you can raise it to 165-170kph tops.
The quarter-mile time of the S4 is around 12.8 seconds at 108mph which is a decent number for a car such as the S4. All in all, the S4 is indeed a fast car.
Is the Audi S4 available as a sedan?
The Audi S4 is now strictly available as an Avant/estate car. You used to be able to buy a sedan version of the S4 but Audi stopped offering it in favor of the Avant. It’s the same case with the Audi RS6 Avant as it also isn’t available as a sedan.
Audi has no plans on making the RS6/S6/RS4/S4 available in sedan form, and it seems like this is not going to change anytime soon.
Is the Audi S4 a good family car?
The Audi S4 is actually a great family car because it combines practicality, speed, luxury, comfort, technology, and safety. It is a really practical car thanks to its estate body shape and because it offers a huge trunk space.
It is quiet, but fast which is also a really good family car trait. Most people won’t even realize that you are driving a fast car when they see an Audi estate rolling by, and if you like that under-the-radar look, you are going to love the S4.